What's the difference between SPF and UPF?

5 min read
What's the difference between SPF and UPF?
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Understanding SPF and UPF: Protecting Your Skin from UV Rays

Most people have heard of SPF - it’s synonymous with sunscreen, and the process of lathering on thick, white layers of sun protective cream on hot summer days. SPF of course is the name (and rating) given to cosmetics that measure their level of sun protectiveness. However, not everyone is aware that clothing can carry a sun protective rating too: a UPF rating. Read on to learn more about the difference in these two ratings and how best to protect yourself from UV rays.

What is SPF?

SPF is a well-known abbreviation for Sun Protection Factor, primarily associated with sunscreens and sunblock creams. An SPF rating typically range from 15 to 50, and provide valuable information about the level of sun protection a cosmetic product offers.

Technically speaking, the SPF rating denotes the degree of UV radiation that a sunscreen can block when applied in the recommended amount. For instance, SPF 15 blocks approximately 93% of UV radiation, while SPF 50+ blocks at least 98% of UV radiation. Sunscreen and SPF products require reapplication after periods of time, and activities such as swimming and sweating.

You might hear the term “broad spectrum” when it comes to SPF and sunscreen. Broad spectrum means the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for causing sunburn, while UVA rays contribute to skin aging.

What about UPF?

UPF, on the other hand, stands for "Ultraviolet Protection Factor." It’s the sun protective rating used for fabrics, and most commonly associated with sun-protective clothing, hats and swimwear and accessories, like umbrellas, gloves and arm sleeves. The rating system for UPF operates similarly to SPF. The highest UPF rating achievable is UPF50+, indicating that the fabric blocks at least 98% of UV radiation.

Dermatologists unanimously agree that the most effective way to prevent sunburn, premature skin aging, and skin cancer is by wearing UPF50+ sun protective clothing, ensuring that your skin remains shielded from direct sunlight.

UPF ratings analyse fabric types, weaves, and density. They undergo rigorous testing, just like SPF products, to be deemed UPF50+ and ensure round the clock protection from UV rays.

We recommend looking at SPF protection as the last step in your sun protective routine, in conjunction with wearing UPF50+ hats and clothing, actively seeking shade and checking the daily UV ratings.

Our Mission to Protect

At Solbari we are working passionately to weave together a future focused on better skin health – one that embraces proactive prevention as the best cure against skin cancer. That’s why we created the world’s best sun protection, designed, tried and tested, under the powerful Australian sun.

Our UPF products are a unique combination of gold-standard fibres and innovative production methods that ensures every Solbari product meets the most stringent safety standards in the world. In the last ten years, we’ve helped more than 300,000 people make better skin choices.

Explore our range of UPF50+ products today: 

Shop Womens UPF50+ 

Shop Mens UPF50+ 

Shop UPF50+ Sun Hats 

Shop UPF50+ Swimwear 

Shop UPF50+ Accessories 

Content Disclaimer: This website pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. All content and media on the Solbari website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should seek professional advice.

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